Florida officials praise federal response to Hurricane Irma

One day after its full wrath slammed into Florida’s southern coast leaving devastation in its wake, authorities in the Sunshine State expressed gratitude to the Trump administration for its swift response to Hurricane Irma.

In separate interviews on Sunday morning talk shows, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) both applauded the response from Washington and the coordination between state and federal officials.

“The president said, ‘Look, I will provide whatever resources you need’ when I talked to him. I pretty much talk to him every day,” Scott told Fox News Sunday. 

Describing the response as “seamless,” Nelson told CBS’ Face the Nation host John Dickerson:

“It’s been very good, and there is cooperation between the federal level, the state and the locals.”

Nelson added the response to Irma had shown a marked improvement in comparison to the response to previous natural disasters affecting Florida, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, in particular.

Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday, but concern remains over Irma’s 70 mph winds would throttle the Florida panhandle and Georgia.

Visiting Camp David over the weekend, President Trump, who had received regular briefings on the hurricane, praised relief efforts and paid particular attention to the response from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The hurricane forced over 5.5 million residents to flee their homes and has left some 16 million without electricity, primarily in Florida and Georgia. Approximately 1 million customers were restored power by Tuesday morning, however, according to Gov. Scott.

According to the latest tally, 18 Americans have died, 12 in Florida, two in Georgia and four in South Carolina, as a result of the storm.

The worst devastation from Irma has been felt in the Caribbean, which suffered over 35 fatalities.

On Tuesday, northern Florida Keys’ residents began to return to their homes, which sustained 130 mph winds. Islands at the southern-end still remain closed, including Key West, but critical damage to the Keys’ 42 bridges has yet to be found.

Preliminary FEMA estimates show approximately a quarter of all residences in the Keys have been destroyed and 65 percent of housing structures suffered significant damage.


Editor’s note: This article has been updated.


[Washington Post] [The Hill] [USA Today via MSN] [AP] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via BBC]